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Britain rejects ‘vaccine nationalism’

UK public support COVID-19 vaccine being available to all countries at same time, regardless of how wealthy they are.

Most Brits willing to wait until after health workers in other countries get vaccine first, if this helps end the pandemic faster.

New polling commissioned by the ONE Campaign has revealed that the British public reject ‘vaccine nationalism’, instead supporting efforts to make sure that when a vaccine for COVID-19 is found, it is made available to people everywhere.

In recent weeks, global leaders including the Pope and Bill Gates have called for countries to reject “vaccine nationalism” – the idea that if they discover a vaccine for COVID-19 they should horde it and prioritise vaccinating their own population – and instead to work together to ensure the vaccine is made available to people everywhere, starting with those who need it most around the world, such as health professionals and other key workers.

The research (1) , conducted by polling company Savanta ComRes between 14-16 August, revealed that of the British public:

  • 82% think the country that discovers the vaccine should share that knowledge, 76% think that when a COVID-19 vaccine is found, it should be made available in all countries at the same time.
  • 81% think that when a COVID-19 vaccine is available, it should be internationally distributed in the most effective way to beat the pandemic everywhere.
  • 77% believe there shouldn’t be a difference between when rich and poor countries get access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 71% believe that if it means we’ll eradicate COVID-19 faster, once UK doctors, nurses, and vulnerable groups have been vaccinated, health workers and doctors in other countries should get the vaccine first, even if healthy people at home have to wait a bit longer.

Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of ONE, said: “While this virus thrives anywhere, it threatens people everywhere.

“British people clearly understand this global pandemic demands a global response. It simply won’t work for each country to go its own way. These findings show the public rejects vaccine nationalism”

The polling also showed great British solidarity, understanding that all countries are in this together, that some countries might need help in beating the virus, and that it’s important to collaborate with others to beat the pandemic:

  • 73% believe that we’ll only be safe when every country has eradicated COVID-19.
  • 72% think that COVID-19 will hit the poorest in the world hardest, and also support helping countries that might be struggling with the outbreak of a disease that does not respect borders.
  • 83% believe it’s important to work with other countries to find a cure for the virus, and 75% think it is right for Britain to contribute financially to global organisations that work to ensure a vaccine is available in all countries at the same time.
  • 73% don’t trust some leaders not to horde all the vaccine if their country discovers it first.

Greenhill continued: “The public believe that when a COVID-19 vaccine is available, it should be shared equitably. So far, the government has shown it understands this by working closely with others and providing funding for global organisations working on distributing vaccines.”

“It’s important they continue to approach this pandemic as a global crisis that needs a global solution. This includes ensuring deals with vaccine manufacturers are equitable and prioritise key workers and vulnerable groups globally.”


Note: The polling was conducted on behalf of the ONE Campaign by Savanta ComRes. Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,083 UK adults aged 18+ online between 14th and 16th August 2020. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of all UK adults by age, gender, region, and social grade. Full data tables are available at comresglobal.com/our-work/poll-archive/